Marine veteran completes 7,000-mile horseback journey for PTSD awareness

A long road for a good cause ending right here in Eastern North Carolina.

Matt Perella finished a nearly 7,000-mile journey today.

In April, he left Camp Pendleton in Southern California ending up in Camp Lejeune all on horseback.

Along the way the Marine veteran has been raising awareness for veterans suffering from PTSD.

Wherever Matt Perella goes, Buck is there with him every step of the way.

Since April, the Marine veteran spent 8-10 hours a day making his way through 17 states on the back of his horse, Buck.

Matt says after years of struggling with depression and other mental health issues, he decided to put his energy towards what he loves the most. Which is animals and helping veterans.

Matt Perella, The Righteous Life Rescue Ranch Founder says, “So I just sat in a barn with my horse for a month staring at walls, didn’t know where to go, really contemplating on what’s going to make me happy from here on out. It was my animals and nature, and I had to decide what I was going to do with this. So I was like, I’m going to give up everything and cross the country.”

Matt wrapped up his five years of service in the Marine in 2004.

Even though the Marine spirit never left him, he says the journey did get tough.

We asked him what he would think about when he wanted to give up.

Matt Perella stated, “Jesus.”

Perella says he rediscovered his love for riding after getting his horse Buck in 2017. It ignited the light in him to help others through the love of nature.

He could not do this alone.

Matt and Isaac unexpectedly crossed paths, resulting in a journey he will never forget.

Isaac Baird, employee of Righteous Life Rescue Ranch says, “Have I thought should I quit? Yes, I have, but not because of the journey itself. It’s because of my own pride and arrogance. So, I had to learn a lot. There has been a lot of growth of ‘you need to humble yourself’ and that was more humility on my part than anything else.”

Matt says many people thought he was crazy for doing this.

The pushback did not stop him from raising awareness.

Matt’s goal is to build a righteous life rescue ranch to house 200 rescue horses where other vets can come for free and enjoy the animals.